The Silence of the Greens

URL http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article2651-The...
Summary Why do environmentalists choose to ignore the undeniable connections between the food crisis and over-population of the human species?

The Silence of the Greens

Why do environmentalists choose to ignore the undeniable connections between the food crisis and over-population of the human species?

EARLIER THIS YEAR the more excitable US media were full, for a day or two, of the latest news from Arkansas. From the settlement of Tontitown, to be precise, where a woman called Michelle Duggar had just announced she was expecting her eighteenth child – due to be born in January 2009. At the time, the Duggars’ seventeen children were aged between nine months and twenty years, and Michelle, aged forty-one, had been pregnant for eleven years of her life. She says she and her husband, Jim Bob, will continue to have children as long as God wills it.

...

In all this, population growth may be the hidden mover that acts invisibly but powerfully with a series of overlapping ripple effects whose causes and origins are obscure to most of those who experience them. One does not blame the Duggars, or even the large family next door, for the price of one’s loaf, but ultimately they bear a responsibility. So do we all. History suggests that population growth has repeatedly shoved humanity into a corner – not least in forcing us to abandon the hunter-gatherer way of life – and is doing so again now, pushing us under the banner of necessity towards genetic modification, soil-less hydroponics, the ploughing-up of set-aside and all the other paraphernalia of high-technology, denatured intensive farming systems. Our own actions, in other words, are coming back to haunt us. It’s time we managed things better.

David Nicholson-Lord is an environmental writer and policy director of the Optimum Population Trust. www.optimumpopulation.org

Resurgence 251